Google Cardboard exec says content will make (or break) VR

The head of partnerships for Google Cardboard says compelling content will ultimately make virtual reality succeed, and he encourages innovative individuals to get going on creating immersive and unique VR experiences.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — The technologies that let people use their smartphones as virtual reality (VR) viewers are rapidly evolving. The VR content, however, is a big missing piece in the puzzle. Without compelling content, users have little to watch, and they are unlikely to get excited about VR until the situation changes.

"Content is a big question mark right now. This is where we've got a big bottleneck in terms of just the ability to create content … as well as ideas," said Aaron Luber, head of partnerships for Google's Cardboard initiative, at ThinkLA's Trends Breakfast. "Content is one of the most critical pieces of the type of thinking we need to be having in VR today." (Google Cardboard is an inexpensive set of VR headsets that's literally made out of cardboard.)

VR all about the content

Luber thinks creative individuals will play significant roles in the future of VR, but he wouldn't offer suggestions on the types of content they should imagine and eventually create. "I tend to shy away from content questions only because I don't know," he says. "I don't want to hypothesize on what I think is going to be useful and important. We are all brand new to this thing … we are all experiencing VR and getting into this for the first time."

Google doesn't want to put any restrictions on VR, and it is hoping this openness draws the kinds of inventive people it needs to develop the medium. "I'm just eager to see more creative people, not me, come out and do a lot of cool stuff that will start unearthing those things people want to see and do," he says. "I think we're going to see a lot of great things happen."

Consumer awareness around Cardboard slowly grows

Google Cardboard has been available for almost 18 months, but the low-cost VR viewer stands to see its most significant boost this Sunday when The New York Times ships more than 1.3 million units to subscribers. The newspaper developed a 360-degree documentary film titled "The Displaced" about three children uprooted by war, and it plans to add more content during the coming months.

Companies are also embracing Cardboard, which costs Google just $4 to manufacture in bulk, as a tool for marketing, entertainment and education. For example, Volvo handed out more than 10,000 Google Cardboard units at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show, to highlight features of its XC90 model. Legendary Pictures distributed 50,000 units to promote its upcoming film "Warcraft;" AT&T handed out 100,000 units for its "It Can Wait" anti-texting-while-driving campaign; and Google gave out 20,000 units at the Sundance film festival.

VR, Google Cardboard and the future of computing

Google Cardboard is open source, and the company has 15 approved partners on board today, though more than 100 companies currently manufacture their own versions of the viewer, according to Luber.

Google says VR is the future of computing. Its approach, however, is notably different than the other players in the space, with much lower barriers for adoption. "Our mission is to deliver VR to the masses," he says. "The reason we're doing this is not an entertaining thing, it's not a gaming thing… This is an evolution of computing."

It will take a while for VR to hit its stride, according to Luber, but Cardboard and other viewers, such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, show real potential and will continue to gain traction.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

What the modern gig economy is doing to customer experience

Most marketing theory was established in the context of stable employment relationships. From front-line staff to marketing strategists and brand managers, employees generally enjoyed job security with classic benefits such as superannuation plans, stable income streams, employment rights, training, sabbaticals and long-service leave.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

The new data hierarchy

We are all digital lab rats spewing treasure troves of personal data wherever we go.

Gerry Murray

Research director, marketing and sales technology services, IDC

When marketing a business, we can learn a lot from neuroscience

In 2015, a study at MIT suggested an algorithm could predict someone’s behaviour faster and more reliably than humans can.

Michael Jenkins

Founder and director, Shout agency

Because you are missing the point of the term "disruption"

Sean

Uber for the truckies: How one Aussie startup is disrupting the freight industry

Read more

Absolutely agree with this ... Facebook doesn't care what adds they show. You report an add for fake news/scam and it just remains "open...

Quasi Carbon

Unilever CMO threatens Facebook, Google with digital advertising boycott

Read more

How to create Pinball game in 4 minshttps://youtu.be/S1bsp7del3M

Alex Atmavan

Rethinking gamification in marketing

Read more

True Local - one of the least credible review sites on the entire internet.

MyNameIsStomp

Former Virgin Mobile CMO and CEO joins oOh! as first customer chief

Read more

Data-driven marketing solutions are the way forward to inspire customer engagement. Data should be given a long leash when it comes ident...

Claudia

C-suite perspectives: How Ray White's executive perceive marketing's role today

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in